Complete genome sequence of Treponema pallidum, the syphilis spirochete

Claire M. Fraser, Steven J. Norris, George M. Weinstock, Owen White, Granger G. Sutton, Robert Dodson, Michelle Gwinn, Erin K. Hickey, Rebecca Clayton, Karen A. Ketchum, Erica Sodergren, John M. Hardham, Michael P. McLeod, Steven Salzberg, Jeremy Peterson, Hanif Khalak, Delwood Richardson, Jerrilyn K. Howell, Monjula Chidambaram, Teresa UtterbackLisa McDonald, Patricia Artiach, Cheryl Bowman, Matthew D. Cotton, Claire Fujii, Stacey Garland, Bonnie Hatch, Kurt Horst, Kevin Roberts, Mina Sandusky, Janice Weidman, Hamilton O. Smith, J. Craig Venter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

780 Scopus citations


The complete genome sequence of Treponema pallidum was determined and shown to be 1,138,006 base pairs containing 1041 predicted coding sequences (open reading frames). Systems for DNA replication, transcription, translation, and repair are intact, but catabolic and biosynthetic activities are minimized. The number of identifiable transporters is small, and no phosphoenolpyruvate: phosphotransferase carbohydrate transporters were found. Potential virulence factors include a family of 12 potential membrane proteins and several putative hemolysins. Comparison of the T. pallidum genome sequence with that of another pathogenic spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent of Lyme disease, identified unique and common genes and substantiates the considerable diversity observed among pathogenic spirochetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-388
Number of pages14
Issue number5375
StatePublished - Jul 17 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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